Mujaku Dochu (無著道忠)

Mujaku Dochu (September 16, 1653 - January 25, 1745) was a gakuso (scholar priest) of Myoshin-ji Temple school of the Rinzai sect of Zen during the Edo period. His imina (personal name) was Michitada, and his pseudonym was 葆雨堂 and 照冰堂.

His secular surname was 熊田 (Kumada or Kumata) from Tajima Province (Hyogo Prefecture).


He started as a trainee priest at the Nyorai-ji Temple in Izushi and went to the capital (Kyoto) in 1660 at the age of eight to enter into priesthood. He became a disciple of Jikuin-somon (1610-1677) at the Myoshin-ji Ryuge-in Temple and received shiho (to inherit the dharma from a priest master).

He practiced Zen under Itsudo at Fukiage-dera Temple (吹上寺) in Kii Province and Mokuin (黙印) at Daian-ji Temple in Echizen Province before he came back to Kyoto to live in the Ryuge-in Temple where he succeeded his master as the second chief priest of the temple in 1677 at the age of 25. By this time, he had already joined a court function of the lecture on books about Zen Buddhism and worked hard in Zen training under Mokuin (黙印), a disciple of Daigu Sochiku. He learned from masters in various places and read books extensively including Buddhist scriptures other than Zen, Chinese classic books, Rekisho (Expository books about the calendar), and antiquarian books in China and Japan. He made transcriptions and Kokan (revision) of old editions and manuscripts. He often lectured on Zen scriptures and wrote many commentaries and dictionaries; in "Kinben shigai" vol.18, he criticized Shosan SUZUKI's 仁王禅; in "Shobogenzo senpyo" (正法眼蔵僣評) (1713), he criticized Dogen's reference to Daiei in "Shobogenzo" (Treasury of the Eye of True Teaching); in "Obaku gaiki" (1720), he criticized Obaku Sect (Ingen). His achievements of precise approaches stand out prominently among others of those days, and the academic value of his works never wavered in modern times and in the present day.

In 1707, he became a chief priest of Myoshin-ji Temple at the age of 55. In 1714, he was appointed again as a chief priest of Myoshin-ji Temple at the age of 62. In 1722, he was appointed for the third time as a chief priest of Myoshin-ji Temple at the age of 69. In 1723, he retired to the Ryuge-in Temple at the age of 70.

On January 25, 1745 (on December 23, 1744 in old lunar calendar), he died at the age of 92.

His major books

He was a prolific writer who was said to have written 911 books of 374 kinds in total.

"Zenrinshokisen" (1715)

"Kattogosen" (1744)


"Shina zokugo" (支那俗語)

All of the above are dictionaries.

"Kidorokuriko" (1727)

"臨済慧照禅師語録疏瀹" (1726)

The above are commentaries.

"kozonshukugoyo" (1731)

"Shorin sanron" (少林三論) (1735)

The above are recensions.


"Shosorinryakushingi" (1684)

"Obaku gaiki" (1720)


[Original Japanese]